On a conference call with reporters to release an unclassified version of the new National Intelligence Strategy, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair revealed an intelligence community budget that goes far over recent disclosures of its total. You’re spending $75 billion on intelligence, America.
“We really believe the American people deserve to know about their intelligence enterprise,” said Blair, who is scheduled to speak tonight to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. To that end, he ordered the creation of an unclassified version of his “blueprint to run this 200,000-person, $75 billion national enterprise.”
Blair’s predecessor, Michael McConnell, became the first-ever intelligence community chief to disclose the intelligence budget in accordance with an act of Congress. Back in 2007, that budget totaled $43.5 billion, without the cost of military operations that include intelligence assets. Blair did not expand on his description of the intelligence budget, although a senior intelligence official who fielded reporters’ questions on background said the intelligence community is still struggling to put into place mechanisms for “enhanced auditability [and] tracking resources” of that budget, and revealed that unspecified current practices to manage taxpayer money for intelligence “are not interoperable” across the various intelligence agencies. And this is a budget that has apparently gone up by more than two-thirds in the past two years.
Update: In October, McConnell revealed that the budget for 2008 on intelligence had been $47.5 billion. That was a nine percent increase from the previous year. This is a ginormous one. Thanks to reader TS for jogging my addled memory.
Update II: For an explanation of how the budget got to be $75 billion, see this follow-on post.